Open Thread – May – 2013
Could Body Armor Have Saved Millions in World War I?
The follies that led to poor helmets and a lack of torso protection for men in the trenches.
APR 30 2013
Steel fragments do not come at the soldier like rifle or machine gun bullets, at high velocity (up to 3000 feet per second). Nearly all of them move at less than 1,000 feet per second. The best helmet steel could and did defeat these. But helmets only protected the head — and Allied helmets covered the head poorly.
Still, 18 to 20-gauge helmet steel (.036-.040 inches) could stop a hot cupro-nickel jacketed 230 grain slug from a .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) fired pointblank. So alloys like silicon nickel or nickel-manganese-vanadium could protect against almost all fragments. With such steels already in high production for helmets, why not protect the torso too?
What If We Never Run Out of Oil?
New technology and a little-known energy source suggest that fossil fuels may not be finite. This would be a miracle—and a nightmare.
CHARLES C. MANN
APR 24 2013
Johnny Rico, combat photographer: